Re "The pope, the pill and the court," Opinion, Jan. 30

Malcolm Potts' claims about contraception are not uncontested. Whether nuns are prescribed hormonal medication has nothing to do with any church teaching on contraception. It is a matter between a nun and her doctor based on her risk factors and health needs.

As U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh pointed out, "There are risks with the pill just as there are risks with doing nothing with regard to uterine and ovarian cancer." Some potential side effects from contraceptive pills are hypertension, heart attacks, deep-vein thrombosis and life-threatening blood clots.

In 2002, a scholarly review of research on clergy mortality found that Catholic nuns have an advantage of roughly 20% to 25% over the general population. A 2012 article in the medical journal the Lancet said that "with improved information on breast cancer prevention, Catholic nuns are already in a favorable position to avoid death from gynecological cancer, without a need for the oral contraceptive pill."

Mary Dillon

Ventura

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